HC Deb 11 February 1830 vol 22 cc389-92

The order of the day being read for the House to resolve itself into a Committee, The Chancellor of the Exchequer moved, "That a Supply be granted to his Majesty."

Mr. R. Gordon

said, he wished to put a question to the right hon. Gentleman with respect to the salaries of public officers. It was well known that half-pay officers, before they received that pay, were obliged to make an affidavit that they possessed no civil employment whatever. What he wanted to know was, whether, in point of fact, officers holding their military rank, and at the same time holding civil offices under the Crown, did or did not receive their military as well as their civil pay? He was aware that it might be said, that the regulation to which he alluded only extended to half-pay. There was also what was called the unattached pay of general officers. There were one hundred and twenty or one hundred and thirty general officers by whom this was received; so that if all the Ministry were composed of such officers, they would receive their military as well as their civil emoluments. He wished also to know what general officers received as colonels; he believed, from six to seven or eight hundred a year. The particular question, however, which he wished to ask was, whether, in point of fact, naval and military servants of the Crown did, while they received civil allowances, also receive military or naval allowances?

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

said, the best mode of obtaining accurate information on the subject would be by moving for a return of the individuals in question, and of the nature and amount of their receipts. As far as he was able to answer the hon. Gentleman, he could state that general officers, who had regiments, did not forfeit the advantages arising there from when they accepted civil situations under the Crown. The regiments were the rewards of military services, and of those rewards they were not deprived. As to half-pay general officers, he was not aware that there were any who held civil appointments under the Crown, With respect to naval officers, the only one who received half pay and held civil appointments, were a few of the Lords of the Admiralty. These were always considered as being employed in their profession, and received their half-pay, together with their civil emoluments.

The Speaker having put the question,

Mr. Ald. Waithman

objected, at that late hour (it being past twelve o'clock) to any proceeding for voting away the public money, and moved as an Amendment, that the House do now adjourn.

Mr. Hume

supported the Amendment, and hoped that the wholesome practice which prevailed a few years ago of never voting a shilling of the public money after twelve o'clock, would be renewed. He trusted the right hon. Gentleman would postpone his Motion and bring it on at an earlier period of the evening.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

said, the only Motion to be made in the Committee, if the Motion now before the House were adopted, was the very general one—"that a Supply be granted to his Majesty." Till that Motion was carried the hands of Government were tied, and they were unable even to lay the estimates on the Table.

Mr. Alderman Waithman

said, he had no wish to embarrass his Majesty's Government, but he must discharge his duty conscientiously. He objected to granting any supply until he knew what Ministers meant to do in the way of reduction and expenditure; and what was the exposition which they were prepared to make on the financial condition of the country.

Mr. Secretary Peel

observed, the only way to hasten an exposition of the financial state of the country, was to agree to his right hon. friend's Motion; for unless the House went into a Committee of Supply, pro forma, the nature and amount of the estimates could not be submitted to the House.

Lord Althorp

allowed that he thought the Motion might be acceded to; for it was merely that some supply should be granted to his Majesty. If any hon. Member thought that no supply whatever should be granted, then an Amendment, such as that proposed by the hon. Alderman, was justifiable. Conceiving, however, that such was not the hon. Alderman's wish, though he felt the indispensable necessity of a great reduction of taxation, he implored the hon. Alderman not to persevere in an Amendment which would prevent the production of those estimates, which alone would give the means of ascertaining what reduction might be made.

Mr. Alderman Waithman

said, he had misunderstood the matter and would withdraw his Amendment.

The Marquis of Blandford

said, he was regardless of the taunts to which he knew he should expose him self by opposing the Motion, but he felt it his duty to take that course. He was quite sure his Majesty had been imposed upon, and was not aware of the extent of the distress which existed in the country. The best mode of awakening his Majesty's mind to that fact was, in his opinion, the constitutional one, of refusing to grant a Supply for the Public Service. He should, therefore, repeat the Motion "That the House do now adjourn." On this Motion a division immediately took place—

For the Adjournment 9; Against it 105; Majority 96.

Mr. Hume

afterwards urged the expediency of bringing on public business at an earlier period of the evening.

The House having resolved itself into a Committee of Supply, the Motion of the Chancellor of the Exchequer was agreed to.

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